Problem gambling is harmful to psychological and physical health and manifests as depression, anxiety, stomach and intestinal disorders, migraine and more. And gambling in Indiana is not an exception.
Gambling in Indiana
Imagine the sounds heard throughout a casino: chiming bells, whirring of spinning slot reels and roulette wheels, coins hitting metal and dice rolling. Add to that flashing lights, cute animations on slot machines, free drinks, no clocks or windows and one becomes hypnotized with the action.
For many people, spending a few hours in a casino is harmless entertainment. They have spending limits and can walk away content to wait and return in the future. Unfortunately, this is not the case for other gamblers. They get in the zone and have trouble finding their way out. After trips to the ATM to replenish their cash for more hours of playing, exhaustion finally drives them home. But, soon after, they return for more play. It’s become an addiction.
Gambling Is Harmful
Problem gambling is harmful to psychological and physical health and manifests as depression, anxiety, stomach and intestinal disorders, migraine and more. The consequences of gambling can lead to feelings of despondency and helplessness, or in some instances, to suicide ideation.
Gambling is not a financial problem, but an emotional problem that has financial consequences. It also impacts the way in which the addicted person relates to family and friends. Normally dependable people may miss important family events or days at work.
Various triggers may sway a person from casual gambler to an obsessed gambler. These include retirement, traumatic circumstances, new stress, loneliness or other addictions.
How Do You Tell If You Are Addicted?
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that a person exhibiting four or more of the following signs during the past 12 months should be evaluated and/or treated for addiction:
- Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to feel excitement
- Restlessness or irritability when trying to stop gambling
- Repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop, control, or reduce gambling
- Thinking often about gambling and making plans to gamble
- Gambling when feeling distressed
- Returning to gamble again after losing money
- Lying to conceal gambling activities
- Experiencing relationship or work problems due to gambling
- Depending on others for money to spend on gambling
If these signs cause concern to you personally or for a loved one, there is hope! There are three main types of treatment:
- Therapy to reduce the urge to gamble by changing the way a person feels and thinks about gambling
- Medications to reduce symptoms and illnesses that sometimes appear with gambling addictions
- Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous provide beneficial support from others in a similar situation or who have successfully conquered the addiction.
The APA recommends that the caretaker seek support from others plus advises the following:
- Recognize the person’s good qualities and avoid excluding them from family life
- Remain calm when discussing gambling with the individual and refrain from preaching, lecturing, or getting angry
- Be open about the problem, including with children
- Understand that treatment is necessary and can be time-consuming
- Set boundaries regarding family finances and avoid paying off the individual’s gambling debts
Anyone who is concerned about problem gambling can obtain confidential support 24/7 through the National Problem Gambling Helpline on 1-800-522-4700. Locally call the Indianapolis Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542) or visit www.indianaproblemgambling.org. Additional information is available through the National Institutes of Health.
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